So Many Girl Crushes, So Little Time
March 23, 2015
Ah, the girl crush. We’ve all had them. Suddenly you realize your co-worker is more than just a great collaborator—she’s also all-around awesome. Or you’re at a party and are introduced to someone’s friend’s friend. It might start out somewhat superficially (as many crushes do) when you notice that she’s wearing the exact outfit you wish you were wearing. Once you get to talking, you realize she’s also wickedly funny. Then you find out that she has a cool job, just traveled across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, speaks Swedish, and secretly plays the ukulele. Suddenly, you start to feel something. Is it jealousy? No, it’s more powerful than that—it’s genuine admiration and a desire to be able to count this person among your friends. Pretty soon, you’re in the throes of a full-on girl crush. So… then what?
If you’re like many of us, you’re nearing capacity for the number of friends you can realistically fit into your life. But if the girl crush is mutual—and I hope it is, because those are the best kind—you can’t just pretend it hasn’t happened. You’ll likely realize that if you had met in high school or college (i.e., prime friend-making years), you probably would have been besties, but because making “new” friends is increasingly inconvenient as you get older and busier, it’s tough to know what to do when you feel that undeniable insta-connection. As with romantic relationships, timing is everything. And sometimes, we’re years (or decades) into our best friendships when we meet someone who—had things been different—could have been in our inner circle all along.
To Ann Friedman (on whom I happen to have a writer crush), this is an important opportunity for women. Writing for New York Magazine’s The Cut, she suggests that when you identify a woman who intimidates you with her awesomeness, befriend her. She also notes that once you set your sights on a new friend, you should pursue the friendship without regard for how it might “look.”
I’m all for forging new friendships at any stage of life, but I also think that the girl crush / new friend is its own fabulous category: She’s someone you don’t really have room for in your current life, but she’s so cool that you’re willing to clear some space for her. Maybe not as much space as you dedicate to your 24/7 crew, but a cozy little corner nonetheless.
In my experience, there are some friendships that are best enjoyed in brilliant sporadic bursts, followed by weeks of little day-to-day contact. I have a few lady friends whom I only manage to see once every few months, but when we do, we have a riotously good time, or we have a profoundly deep exchange, or we hatch an insane business scheme, or some other life-affirming interaction takes place. These dates typically end on the same note: “We have to do this more often!” But in truth: No, we don’t. Their once-in-a-while nature is what makes them such a thrill.
Some friendships flourish under restricted conditions, and you can still delight in that we-could-have-been-best-friends connection on terms that befit your busy adult life. It might not feel the same as staying up into the wee hours squealing over the pages of Tiger Beat (or whatever your adolescent whims dictated), but sometimes, all you really need is the occasional check-in and the figurative equivalent of a high-five.
“No, you’re awesome.”
And then you go on your merry way, knowing that you’re mutually crushing on each other from afar. And sometimes, that’s enough.